Saturday, May 25, 2013

Let the Children Come

Let the Children Come

May 25, 2013
Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
He says to them, “Avoid all evil”; each of them he gives precepts about his fellow men.  Their ways are ever known to him, they cannot be hidden from his eyes.  Over every nation he places a ruler, but God’s own portion is Israel.  All their actions are clear as the sun to him, his eyes are ever upon their ways.  Sirach 17:14-15
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”  Mark 10:14-15


"My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold"

          My heart leaps up when I behold
              A rainbow in the sky:
          So was it when my life began;
          So is it now I am a man;
          So be it when I shall grow old,
              Or let me die!
          The Child is father of the Man;
              I could wish my days to be
          Bound each to each by natural piety. (William Wordsworth)


Jesus uses phrases for children many times.  Most notably, we are referred to as children of God.  In today’s reading, he speaks about letting the children come to him and condemns anyone who would prevent children from approaching Him.
Maybe less well known but equally of interest is the Last Breakfast scene in John – after Christ was crucified, Peter and the disciples decided to leave the upper room and go fishing.  They caught nothing after a long night.  Someone on the beach shouted to them to cast their nets over the other side of the boat.  The man on the beach addressed these professional fishermen as if they were boys.  “Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”” (John 21:5a)
The concept of “children” in Scripture seems to be removed from the concept of age.  Rather it reflects a state of being and perhaps a state of mind.  After taking Jesus’ advice, they disciples are freed from their fears and now are willing to get outside their comfort zone and fish outside of the boat – seen literally when Peter jumps into the Sea of Galilee instead of rowing to shore.
We too, are encouraged to drop all our fears and rationalizations that prevent us from freely and lovingly following Jesus.


Remember high school?  That magical time when we awaited those special passages from childhood to adulthood.  The outward signs of maturity included getting our driver’s license, the right to vote, passing the legal age to drink.  Chronological age – not necessarily maturity -- is used to measure these milestones.  When you get to be over 50, you qualify for that all important AARP card.  In social settings, age is used as a sign of respect like when you offer your seat on the Metro to an elderly person. 
Our personalities form when we are children.  If we did not have certain qualities as a child, then we will not have them as an adult.  If we did, these qualities will always be reflected in our personalities.
Scriptures today remind us that we are freely invited to hold up our end of the covenant with the innocence and expectations we had as a child.  How will you go all in this weekend, jumping off the side of the boat with Peter?

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